The Story So Far
If you want to start at the beginning of this serialized novel, I suggest going to Welcome to Chokeville. If you just want to refresh your memory on what’s happened so far, or would rather skim through a dry synopsis than experience the actual thing (like I do with horror movies on Wikipedia), then you’re in the right place.
This page is, naturally, nothing but spoilers! But only for the currently available chapters. I’ll update it each week.
Part One: Tonight! Now!
The Eater of Worlds: Batya is a low-level thug-for-hire in a seamy port city called Fort Hook. She’s wrapping up a cruddy drug deal when she’s ambushed in a hotel kitchen by no less than five goons. She takes out four but the fifth one knocks her unconscious with a cannonball to the chest.
You Big Stupid: Bat wakes up in a guest room and discovers it’s under the sea somewhere. A handsome valet comes in to check on her and she does what she does: knock him down and threaten his life. This assault is interrupted by the arrival of her big sister, Mina.
No Serious Damage: Turns out Bat and Mina used to work together as hired goons, but some falling-out in the recent past split them up. Since then, Mina has gone to work for a new company—this undersea establishment is its headquarters—but is in some kind of trouble with them. So she had Bat kidnapped and brought here to help her get out of this trouble, first by meeting with her boss.
This Broad Does Her Thing First: Bat has an interview with Mina’s boss, Margaret. Margaret runs a secret illicit courier operation called Hawthorne Grain. She explains that Mina screwed up an important job and Margaret was about to let her go when Mina convinced her to bring in Bat, promising that the sisters working together will solve all her problems. Margaret gives them a rush delivery job to do—tonight, now—as a kind of test.
My Adorable Mean Crybaby: Bat is pissy at getting dragged into Mina’s problems against her will. Mina explains that if they don’t get this job done, Margaret will have her killed (that’s how things work in these types of companies, I guess), so Bat grudgingly agrees to help out. Bat also mentions that she could use the money, seeing as she made some very unsound financial decisions during their time apart.
All Paper is Edible: At Sal’s Crab House, the restaurant run by Hawthorne Grain, the sisters get the job details from Sal, who acts as both dispatch and chef. The job is to deliver an envelope to a location by midnight tonight. The problem is the location is represented by a weird symbol neither of them recognize. They brainstorm for a bit and then decide to go to the local radio station and see if they can put out an APB on this symbol.
A Clean Stench: The sisters head out into the city and we learn a little bit more about Fort Hook, and how its thriving fishing industry and convenient geography has made it a haven for every miscreant and buccaneer and lowlife along this stretch of coast.
Bloody Tobacco: The only way to the radio station is through the very haunted woods. Bat is accosted by some kind of deer demon, but manages to escape and reunite with Mina. Then they encounter a mysterious sea hag known as The Invoker, who tries to tell them the horrific history of those woods. But they ain’t got time for that and hurry off to the station.
The Midnight Delight: At the radio station (which is inside a lighthouse) they interrupt Fabulous Don Swezey, the late-night DJ, in the middle of his show. He would like them to leave immediately, but Mina smooth-talks him into letting them ask his listeners about the weird symbol.
The Tingle Sweats: Fabulous Don describes the symbol on the air, and a nurse calls in to explain that it represents some sort of secret competition happening tonight, accessible via an ice cream parlor in “the Terminal.” What can it mean. I’m as baffled and yet feverishly intrigued as you are.
This Deafening Tsunami of Rage: Bat and Mina hurry to get to the streetcar terminal before the midnight deadline for their delivery. They hitch a ride from the Invoker and then don’t pay her, which is bad, but what do you want, they don’t have any money, that’s why they’re doing this job in the first place.
An Arousing Itch: They find the symbol on the men’s room door of an ice cream parlor. Inside is a spiral staircase guarded by a devastatingly burly bouncer. So, Bat does what she does. (Get the tar kicked out of her.)
Rye + Delirium: They finally reach the drop-off point, and it’s a gymnasium where hundreds of drunk guys are betting on a surgery competition. It goes about as well as you’d expect, with the sisters getting spotted at this men-only event.
The Yowling Throng: The outcome of the surgery battle is violently contested as hordes of men beat each other up. The sisters find the recipient of their delivery in the midst of this blood-soaked melee and it turns out to be someone they know. Hm!
You Girls Look Horrid: Turns out this whole job was a test set up by Margaret, which the sisters passed (sort of). Now she wants them to do some real jobs, including a big one that all the other couriers are scared to take on.